By Amanda Chablani, HSC Policy Specialist
In the past few years, we’ve seen several chefs and food writers talking about health, the environment, and national food policy. Most notably, Alice Waters, of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse and the exciting Edible Schoolyard, has for years been outspoken about the availability of local sustainable farming. Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma spent an unprecedented number of weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list and received a 2007 James Beard Award. And just last year, Mark Bittman, the New York Times food writer, published Food Matters, a book he describes as exploring “the links among global warming and other environmental challenges, obesity and the so-called lifestyle diseases, and the overproduction and overconsumption of meat, simple carbohydrates, and junk food.” (For an excellent discussion on food policy with Bittman, check this out).
But from what I can tell, until now, there hasn’t been a whole lot of interest in food policy from broadcast media, so I was happy to see this news story about Rachael Ray, the woman who made EVOO a household acronym, working to improve school food.
I love how Rachael brings attention back
to the powerful message that providing good nutrition to kids is a preventative
health strategy and should be part of the national health care debate.
And, as the kids of P.S. 89 make clear, healthy school food can be delicious!
The New York Public School District had been successfully working to improve their school food before Rachael came along, as Rachael explains:
“With the small amount of money they have to spend, they’ve made such great strides. And I think this will really help with the obesity rates -- if we can get great nutrition into every public school coast to coast, for breakfast and lunch, that’s going to make a dent in it.”
By lending her star power to the issue,
Rachael brings attention at a vital moment in the policy debate around
the reauthorization of the Child
And she’s not the only one!
Jamie Oliver is bringing his cooking
skills, and the nation’s attention, to the school lunch offering in
Huntington, West Virginia on his upcoming show Jamie Oliver’s Food
Revolution. On this side of the Atlantic, Jamie is known for his
successful cooking show The Naked Chef, but on the other side
of the pond he’s just as famous for his philanthropic work and his
four-part special Jamie’s
School Dinners that exposed,
and attempted to improve, the state of school lunch in England. At least
in part because of his efforts, the British government invested more
than a billion dollars in improving
school lunch nationally.